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|CVB's Cooper outlines tourism benefits for parish, residents|
A recent tourism study conducted on behalf of the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau found travelers spent $242 per day during their stay in Ouachita Parish.
CVB's executive director Alana Cooper said by brining those new dollars into the parish, the tourism industry in Ouachita essentially saves area residents some money.
"The completion of this study yielded a new path and plan to reach to the current visitors and increase our tax relief to our citizens," Cooper said. "Currently, the travel industry provides a $183 tax relief to each household within our community."
The majority of travelers visiting Monroe and West Monroe come for business, conventions and sporting events.
CVB's goal is to promote the area to more travelers to convince them to use Monroe and West Monroe for their conventions, business meetings and sporting events.
Cooper presented the tourism study and CVB's marketing plan for 2008 to the Ouachita Parish Police Jury during its regular meeting Monday.
Randall Travel Marketing spent one year studying the tourism industry in Ouachita Parish where the firm assessed the area's attractions and talked one-on-one with travelers staying in local hotels. Representatives of the firm talked to travelers about what they thought about the area and what could be done to improve their visit.
"With that information, we were able to determine what the visitors think of Ouachita Parish, what they would like to see here, what they do while they are here and where they're spending their money," Cooper said.
She said CVB will work this year to increase the number of bookings for conventions and events and promote spending by visitors while in the area.
Last year, the area pulled in 168 conventions and sporting events, which resulted in more than 43,000 room nights at local hotels.
Cooper said Monroe and West Monroe needs to position itself as the meeting/event hub of north Louisiana. The area has the advantage of being located on Interstate 20 between Jackson and Shreveport with 2,000 hotel rooms, 70 local restaurants and shopping opportunities.
Some long-term goals the study outlined include the addition of a multi-function indoor/outdoor sports complex "to host a wide variety of sports teams and tournaments, meetings, trade and livestock shows and other events."
Another goal this year for the CVB is to land the AAU girl's basketball 9 and under national tournament for 2009. Kenner is hosting the 2008 tournament.
AAU officials will tour the area this month to determine if Ouachita Parish will be selected for next year's event.